Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Conference Highlights and Favorites!

This is where General Conference is held.
I love how uplifting General Conference is! It is so wonderful and the spirit of the Lord is found in the talks and songs. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is amazing! They truly sound like a choir of angels. The talks are given by some.of the leaders of the Church. No one is assigned a topic, they are to pray and ponder about the message they will share. It is amazing how some of the talks seem like they were written just for me. These men and women are following the will of the Lord as they prepare their talks.

So, I'll start by sharing something I've always loved including when I was a child about conference. I love it when they share various stats about the Church. (What can I say, I like data). These are figures going until December 31, 2011.

Total number of members of the church: 14,441,346
Total number of converts in 2011: 281,312
Total number of missions: 340
Total number of full-time missionaries: 55,410
Total number of temples in operation in the world: 136 (there are quite a few more coming including Paris, Rome, and Star Valley, Wyoming)

Now, on to the deeper, more spiritual things talked at conference. I am going to share just a few messages that struck me and a few of the applications I saw in my life.

What can I say? I like taking notes.

"Family time is sacred time" is what President Boyd K. Packer taught. Something that I really want to work on is spending quality time with my family. There are times when I'm in the room, but I am not always engaged with the people I'm with.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks spoke about mortal sacrifices that we make. He talked about how before Jesus came to earth that faithful people would make animal sacrifices to the Lord and Christ's sacrifice of his own body fulfilled the need for animal sacrifices though there are still many sacrifices that have been made since then. Many of the early Christians were cruelly murdered for their faith in Christ. The early Mormon pioneers were forced out of the United States because of the hostility directed towards them. Many people died from exposure including my own ancestors because they would not deny the truth. Elder Oaks shared a story about a young man who came to the United States for schooling and while he was here he was introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He ended up joining. Before he left to go back home, he acknowledged that because he joined the church his family would likely shun him and it would be difficult for him to find employment. He was asked wouldn't that be hard to give up so much. He asked in return, "Isn't it true?" The person said, "Yes." He responded, "Then what else matters?" I want that to be ingrained on my soul. I want to be able to face any challenge or trial that comes my way with the knowledge that as long as continue to try my best, I am doing the right thing.

One of my favorite quotes came from Elder Jeffery R. Holland. "Don't delay, it's getting late." We need to fix those things in our lives that are holding us back including long held grudges and grievances. We have a limited time to take care of them, so don't wait any longer.

A few of the talks mentioned how we are in the media a lot more. They never once referred to why that's the case, but focused instead on what we actually believe. Elder Neil L. Andersen mentioned that he was interviewed about the church and it got to the point that the interviewer made a comment about how could anyone not believe you're not Christian. He pondered that and he taught that it doesn't matter really what other people think of you, but what does Christ think of you.

Elder Pieper encouraged us to write down impressions and other sacred experiences. I have recorded a few, but not everything. I am going to begin keeping a personal journal to write down certain experiences that I don't want to forget. Elder Pieper taught that recording these experiences will help us when our faith is challenged. We will be able to look back and be strengthened by those experiences.

These are just a few things that were shared this past weekend. I invite you to take your own look at General Conference. You can watch any of the talks at any time and on Thursday you can read any or all of the talks as well.

I know for myself that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God. He serves and loves like our Savior. He is a man of God and he knows what troubles are ahead and he warns us today. The same as Moses, Abraham, Isiah, Jeremiah, Samuel, and Elijah. The heavens are still open and miracles happen all around us. I look forward to studying more about what was shared this past General Conference. Only six more months until we meet again for conference!

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